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[kawr-puh-suh l, -puhs-uh l] /ˈkɔr pə səl, -pʌs əl/
Biology. an unattached cell, especially of a kind that floats freely, as a blood or lymph cell.
Anatomy. a small mass or body forming a more or less distinct part, as the sensory receptors at nerve terminals.
Physical Chemistry. a minute or elementary particle of matter, as an electron, proton, or atom.
any minute particle.
Also, corpuscule
[kawr-puhs-kyool] /kɔrˈpʌs kyul/ (Show IPA)
Origin of corpuscle
1650-60; < Latin corpusculum, equivalent to corpus body + -culum -cle1
Related forms
[kawr-puhs-kyuh-ler] /kɔrˈpʌs kyə lər/ (Show IPA),
[kawr-puhs-kyuh-ley-tid] /kɔrˈpʌs kyəˌleɪ tɪd/ (Show IPA),
corpusculous, adjective
[kawr-puhs-kyuh-lar-i-tee] /kɔrˌpʌs kyəˈlær ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
intercorpuscular, adjective
noncorpuscular, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for corpuscular
Historical Examples
  • The corpuscular theory, which the famous Newton advocated, is long since abandoned.

    Quiet Talks on Power S.D. Gordon
  • The late experiments of Dr. Young would incline us to prefer the undulatory to the corpuscular hypothesis.

  • I refer to the effect of an atomic and gravitative Aether upon Newton's corpuscular theory of light.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • When we apply the corpuscular theory to the reflection of light we find that it satisfactorily accounts for the phenomenon.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • We have up to the present dealt with only two theories of light, the corpuscular theory and the Undulatory or Wave theory.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • In the corpuscular theory we have luminous particles emitted by luminous bodies.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • Arrived there, we may next suppose that they excite some new motions, or corpuscular changes.

  • Three great scientific theories of the structure of the universe are the molecular, the corpuscular and the atomic.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • The known influence of form is perfectly consistent with the corpuscular view of induction set forth.

  • The very readiness with which we can picture the corpuscular scheme is a source of embarrassment to the seeker after unity.

    The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry
British Dictionary definitions for corpuscular


any cell or similar minute body that is suspended in a fluid, esp any of the red blood corpuscles (erythrocytes) or white blood corpuscles (see leucocytes) See also erythrocyte, leucocyte
(anatomy) the encapsulated ending of a sensory nerve
(physics) a discrete particle such as an electron, photon, ion, or atom
Also called corpuscule (kɔːˈpʌskjuːl). any minute particle
Derived Forms
corpuscular (kɔːˈpʌskjʊlə) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin corpusculum a little body, from corpus body
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for corpuscular



1650s, "any small particle," from Latin corpusculum "a puny body; an atom, particle," diminutive of corpus "body" (see corporeal). First applied to blood cells 1845. Related: Corpuscular.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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corpuscular in Medicine

corpuscle cor·pus·cle (kôr'pə-səl, -pŭs'əl)

  1. An unattached body cell, such as a blood or lymph cell.

  2. A rounded, globular mass of cells, such as the pressure receptor on certain nerve endings.

cor·pus'cu·lar (kôr-pŭs'kyə-lər) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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corpuscular in Science
  1. Any of various cellular or small multicellular structures in the body, especially a red or white blood cell.

  2. See particle.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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